Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Mavericks Failure to Communicate



With apologies to any Cool Hand Luke fan and the late actor, Strother Martin, who portrayed Luke's prison warden so wonderfully, the Mavericks have a failure to communicate.

"It depends if you're talking on or off court," Mavericks center Tyson Chandler said with a big smile across his face.  "They gotta open their mouths on the court."

No doubt Jason Terry's recent "Charminator" comments come to mind as an excellent example of off the court chatter.  On the court, though, is a different story. 

Shawn Marion alluded to the issue last month and Chandler brought it up at Tuesday's practice.  I asked Chandler and head coach Rick Carlisle why a communication breakdown exists on a veteran team this late in the season and, frankly, their answers weren't so surprising.

"We got guys that just aren't big talkers," Chandler admitted.  "It's something we got to get used to. A lot of good teams talk, a lot of good teams communicate, whether it's something you do, whether it's something you're comfortable at, you got to make yourself comfortable at it."

The Mavericks are full of a bunch of nice, respectful, fabulous guys.  Most fathers would love it if their daughters brought any of these guys home.  In your face, inspiring leaders?  Perhaps not so much.

Chandler says he's trying.

"I feel like as a big guy, you see everything coming.  You're the last line of defense so, you know, I try to communicate to my guys when I'm out there," he said. 

Carlisle likes the fact they're talking about it.

"We spent time working on that today," he said.  We're a team of guys that have high basketball IQ but our personality isn't to be outgoing and talkative all the time.  That's a habit that we've worked on all year to develop and we've gotten better with it.  We can't allow there to be lapses."

This is where I paraphrase former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells who would say "you are what you are."  Is it too late for the Mavericks to try to become this communicative team when it's something they've struggled with this season?  The cynic in me says yes.

"Communication is so key, not only in keeping all the guys on the floor on the same page, but taking energy away from other guys on the floor, too," Carlisle added.
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